Rich Sprent – a regular contributor to the ClaretandHugh Facebook Group is bound to get a big reaction to this blog we reckon. Rich’s views are his own and do not necessarily reflecty those of ClaretandHugh
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With the walking wounded all beginning to return to the trenches any potential loan targets must fit one of three categories:
Better than what we have;
Good enough to cover in case of injury; or
Replace an outgoing player.
But with players trickling back do we really need anyone?
All three regular centre halves plus Roger Johnson should be available for the February games. It remains to be seen how long Winston Reid will take to get his match legs back under him.
The Lescott deal looks a good one if it can be completed. He is undoubtedly a quality player and perhaps the only defender we could feasibly attract who’d improve the defence – however, if it doesn’t come off the question would be: Do we need another central defender?
A second or third striker was the priority to cover for the injured Messiah, Andy Carroll. This is not to mention one or two being required to be an upgrade on the disappointing Modibo Maiga and the previously short term contracted Carlton Cole (pictured above).
The slowness of attracting anyone has coincided with resurgence in form for Carlton who has both scored goals and grabbed an assist during the past month.
With AC striving for full fitness off of the bench it is doubtful whether Maiga will get much game time outside of the League Cup 2nd leg tonight. His days have been numbered for the whole season but will he be let go without an inbound replacement lined up, sealed and delivered to Chadwell Heath?
The chase for Rickie Lambert seems neverending. £5-8m the fee. Wages of £50-75k/wk for a 32 year old. This kind of offer from a club who fill the majority of their team slots with free transfers and homegrown players? It’s a funny one.
He’s having a storming time since arriving in the Premier League. Can he maintain it for another 2-3 years to be worthy of that kind of outlay? And of course, would he actually want to swap the virtual safety of the South Coast this window to come to a 16 game relegation dogfight?
Would any striker we could attract now be better than those we already have?
Both fullback positions have taken a battering over the past month. Demel, JOB, McCartney have all suffered injury whilst Rat has not looked totally comfortable. However, with the manager’s preferred tactic under full steam, progressive overlapping fullbacks aren’t required for much of any game.
If they’re fit, do we need any new ones now?
The goalkeepers look fine. Sure, Adrian has looked a wee bit ‘flappy’ at some crosses but his displays over the past month have showed that he is justifiably making the jersey his own.
Links with Wolves’ (them again!?) Hennessey have been played down by Allardyce who stated, “We don’t need any more keepers.”
Out wide, Jarvis and Downing were brought in to feed the big Geordie. As they look like they could finally get that chance it would seem counter-productive to tinker here. Vaz Te is close to a return and although not one to always look ‘in the game’ he does have a knack of scoring goals and does create uncertainty in the opposition back four.
Joe Cole’s days are very much numbered although there may be a goal or two in him still. I doubt that any club, not even the R’s, would be interested in taking the remainder of his contract off our books at this stage of the season.
No one new out wide then.
The midfield is a confused zone populated by a mixture of a manager’s favourite, a fan’s favourite, some mercurial talent and a few journeymen. The only two likely to leave East London for the west are the two mercurial talents themselves.
Diame & Morrison look lately like lost souls aching for a dream moneymaking move to the lofty Fulham. The media are gambling with their headlines that £8m should secure the services of Rav. £3.5m always seems to be the figure for Diame – does he still have that clause?
Both would command wages at their new clubs in excess of £50k/week. That would put most clubs off. Do Fulham really have that kind of cash to commit on two players who are hardly to be relied upon over the course of a season?
They would be adding to a team that already has such steady temperaments as Dimitar Berbatov and the on loan Adel Taarabt.
And of course if they leave, who do we look at the replace them if at all? All we’d have left to keep Noble & Nolan company then would be Diarra, Collison and Taylor all limping around in workmanlike fashion… and I doubt very much that offers are flying in for those three at present.
Ten days of the window remain. We all want a signing or four. However, with the purse strings such as they are it looks very likely that any incoming player wouldn’t now improve us.
So if any potential signing is not to replace an outgoing player;
or not there to improve the first team. The question has to be:
Do we really need anyone this window?